A blog by Andrew Urquhart, Head of Whole System at SSEN Transmission

As a stakeholder-led business, driven by a stakeholder-led strategy, we’re motivated to act on the feedback we receive from customers and others with an interest in the north of Scotland transmission network, especially when that feedback could have wider implications for industry investment and the realisation of the UK’s legally binding climate goals.

Our generation customers and wider stakeholders have been consistently telling us that charges for transmission access in the north of Scotland, as well as uncertainty about future charges, are acting as a barrier to the commercial viability of renewable energy projects. And evidence supports this. For example, while a wind farm in the north of Scotland pays £5.50 per unit of energy, an equivalent wind farm in Wales will get paid £2.80 per unit.

As we work to deliver a network for net zero in the north of Scotland, this stark reality doesn’t sit well with us. The energy policy landscape is supportive of further renewable energy growth to help unlock our collective net zero emission ambitions and enable green recovery, however it’s clear that barriers still remain. For TNUoS, getting the regulatory and market design process right at this critical time will be key to addressing this. 

We published a TNUoS discussion paper in February this year to explore the case for TNUoS reform in greater detail, along with evidence of impact. Using the paper as a tool to encourage further debate, we listened and we responded, seeking feedback on our paper via a range of methods including written responses, calls with stakeholders, feedback forms and through an interactive stakeholder webinar session, which was joined by over 100 participants from developers to local authorities.

We’ve now published a summary report of all feedback received through this engagement which overwhelmingly supports the need for change. In summary:

  • 93% of all stakeholders agreed that some form of TNUoS reform is required.
  • 70% agreed with the findings outlined in our TNUoS paper.
  • 84% told us that TNUoS acts as a barrier to the delivery of their renewable projects in Scotland.

It’s therefore clear, to us at least, that urgent action is required to find solutions in the context of the climate emergency. On the back of this feedback, we’re planning to carry out further detailed analysis of impact on behalf of our customers, specifically on offshore wind, which will be published in due course.

We’re proud to be powering this stakeholder-led analysis in the north of Scotland, however identifying a problem is only part of the process. We also need solutions, and what comes next is key. Our analysis also identifies a wide range of views on the best way to tackle TNUoS from short term fixes to long term reform options. Given the strength of feeling on the subject, we believe that an urgent formal review of the current TNUoS regime is the best way forward to support the UK’s ambitious net zero targets and green recovery goals.

So, in the year of COP26, which we are proud sponsors of through SSE’s group endorsement, lets maximise this opportunity to power change in TNUoS for the benefit of the climate, society and the economy.

The full stakeholder feedback summary report can be accessed here. Our TNUoS discussion paper, published in February 2021 can be accessed here.

To share your views or discuss in further detail please contact David.Boyland@sse.com.

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